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Volume 10 No. 25

Marketing and Sponsorship

Players from ManU, as part of its partnership with film distributor 20th Century Fox, were featured in a short video to "create buzz" around the movie "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," according to Taruka Srivastav of THE DRUM. The video featuring ManU players Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, David de Gea, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku begins with the tagline "Manners Maketh Man -- Manchester United" and has parts of the trailer for the film. The players "share their insight on which player is best suited to play a character from the film." Most of them "prefer to play the role of the Kingsman." Pogba regards gadgets as the "coolest thing about the Kingsman." ManU earlier put Wayne Rooney, who now plays for Everton, on a pedestal with Wolverine in 20th Century Fox's "Logan" promo (THE DRUM, 9/23).

Six Nations execs "have been given until the end of the month" to find a new sponsor for the biggest annual tournament in world rugby "after struggling to find a replacement for RBS," which ended its backing last season after 14 years, according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. The Six Nations had been looking for a six-year, £100M ($135M) deal, but having spent the past 12 months talking to "a number of potential backers," there is "only one firm offer on the table." That is understood to be less than the £11M a year paid by RBS at the end of its contract "as the economic uncertainty blown up by Brexit deters sponsors." The championship starts in February and the tournament committee, which met last week, told its execs that a deal "had to be agreed within a fortnight." While there has been interest from potential sponsors, "no one has come anywhere near the asking price and there is concern that further delay could lead to the one offer being withdrawn." There are "other hurdles" facing the Six Nations. Companies are "often reluctant to become involved after a long-serving backer exits," and it was a "constant struggle" for RBS to have the media include its sponsorship when talking or writing about the tournament. The market in sport has "tightened after a period of boom." Premiership Rugby failed to find a replacement headline sponsor for Aviva this season "after a long search." The company agreed to carry on for another year but for a "heavily discounted price" -- believed to be in the region of 30% less -- and the fears of some unions in the Six Nations is that "far from securing a bumper package, they will be fortunate to even match the amount RBS paid" (GUARDIAN, 9/23).

Spread betting and foreign exchange brokers are "chasing endorsements and sponsorships from Europe's biggest sports names while regulators prepare to clamp down on their marketing to retail investors," according to Murphy & Stafford of the FINANCIAL TIMES. This month, foreign trading services broker Hantec Markets set up a partnership with Premier League side West Ham United and China's Brickhill Capital "cut a similar deal" with EPL club Southampton. They were the "latest deals in the trend of partnerships between small, often unknown brands" offering FX and contracts-for-difference trading and "some of the biggest names in global sport, particularly football." Since last year, Usain Bolt has been "the face of XM," a U.K. broker, while Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo signed up to promote Cyprus-registered broker Exness last month. A "host of big names" from AC Milan, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and Arsenal have also "agreed deals with companies that hitherto had little or no profile in Europe." Those deals "may come into focus next year" when European regulators plan a "continent-wide clampdown on the industry." They are worried that some platforms, which often offer complex CFD and binary options trading, "are not fully explaining the associated risks to unwary users." Consultancy Aite Group analyst Javier Paz said, "There might be some inclination by some of the lesser known CFD providers to strike while the iron is hot -- before the clampdowns become more severe and pronounced" (FT, 9/24).

Premier League side Southampton announced Brickhill Capital Ltd. as its official Asian trading partner. The global foreign exchange provider agreed to a two-year deal with the club (Southampton).

League Championship side Leeds United announced a partnership with travel tour operator Thomas Cook Sport. The company will offer tailored experiences for supporters traveling to Elland Road. With a significant number of supporters based in Scandinavia, TCS will be working closely with its sister company Ving throughout the duration of the deal (Leeds United).

Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund announced an "expanded partnership" with Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo. The club agreed to a regional deal with Ofo in July, but the further agreement will see the company launch newly-designed bikes near the Signal Iduna Park. As part of the deal, Ofo's logo will be featured on stadium billboards throughout the '17-18 Bundesliga season (SOCCEREX, 9/22).

Premiership Rugby appointed agency Promote PR to "help launch a grassroots campaign targeting under-represented groups within the sport." The company won the brief following a three-way pitch, adding to a roster of clients that already includes the Rugby Football Union, the England & Wales Cricket Board, England Athletics and British Rowing (GORKANA, 9/22).

French side Olympique Lyonnais' women's team announced consultancy Sword as a premium partner for the '17-18 season. The company will have its logo on the front of the team's Women's Champions League jersey. Sword has been a technological partner of the Groupama Stadium since July '13 (OL Women).

League Championship side Brentford announced IT services company Reliable Networks as its official club supplier. The London-based firm has been working with the club and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust for almost a decade (Brentford).

German cycling Team Sunweb extended its partnership with ventilation manufacturer Renson for an additional three years (Team Sunweb).